Taking Notes: 'Who Are You?: Cognitive Dissonance and Lots of Really Big Guns' (2005) by Roz Kaveney

這是 From Alien to the Matrix 的第六章,針對探討 "Who Are You?" 或 "Who Am I?" 哲學議題的電影(尤以 1990s 以降的片子)作解析,並 Dark City (1997) 和 The Matrix Trilogy 為例深入講解。

Roz Kaveney, "6. Who Are You?: Cognitive Dissonance and Lots of Really Big Guns" in From Alien to the Matrix: Reading Science Fiction Film (London: I. B. Tauris, 2005), pp. 63-82.

p. 64
One of the standard philosopher's metaphors for discussing the nature of reality is Descartes' deceiver demons, who keeps your brain in a box and feeds it delusory images of reality. Another is Plato's cave, where prisoners facing away from the entrance interpret the world through shadows seen by flickering firelight. Another linked one is the Neoplatonist idea that there is beautiful music in the spheres 'but while this muddy vesture of decay/ doth hem us in, we cannot hear them'. All of these find echoes in science fiction, both in its written form and in films; the world we are shown in the Wachowski brothers' The Matrix (1999) is one in which Descartes' demon rules.

The stock matters of science fiction include several versions of Cognitive Dissonance. There is the world of consensual reality which breaks down under examination and proves to be a delusion and most usually a snare created to keep the reason prisoner. ......

Another standard SF format is the world which is treated as consensual reality by the characters who live in it, but which the reader recognizes as particular and peculiar. Many stories in which the inhabitants of generation starships have lost technological civilization and fail to understand where they are fall into this category. ......

In all of these tales, there is an interesting dialogue between the process by which the protagonist decodes reality and that by which the reader comes to terms with what, precisely, is wrong with this picture. The equivalent process in science fiction film is even more complex since part of it is decoding which particular movie genre tropes are being invoked on screen. One of the problems for SF film is just this -- that this process of decoding has to be accessible to the most naive viewer without boring the sophisticated, genre savvy one.
p. 65
The entertainment medium experienced so vividly that it and reality become interchangeable is a trope of SF that often overlaps with these themes -- in many of the novels of Philip K. Dick, for example, the distinction between consuming entertainment media, taking hallucinogenic drugs and undergoing mystical experiences are deliberately blurred. ......

......(本段稍稍提及幾部 Dick‧改的電影)

Further, once you have accepted that it is possible to enter a reality you have constructed and interact with beings that believe themselves to be real, the status of your own knowledge of your own world comes up for grabs. ......(帶入 The Thirteenth Floor (1999) 和 eXistenZ (1999))
p. 66
...... All such movies are prone to slingshot endings simply because, once you have cut the assumption of consensual reality and identity out from underneath the viewer, it is impossible to go on without ever definitively restoring it.
p. 67
In all of these cases, the central metaphor of the film has power in itself while initiating plots in which it influences events. To discover, in a genre plot, that the world can be understood is almost always to acquire a desire to change it -- the standard assumptions of SF include the assumption that no proper person is content with abstract knowledge. Inevitably, this is even truer of SF film especially Hollywood SF film where SF is to a large extent a branch of the action adventure movie. This is why, much to the distress of purists, movies that are adaptations of SF material are prone to be considerably more crude in their appeal than the very occasional films which create original SF scenarios that are fully developed.
接下來兩段小討論 The Truman Show (1998),然後引出本文第一個重頭戲 Dark City

Dark City 深入討論見 p. 67-73。

p. 73
Dark City is one of those films where everything comes together, more or less -- someone once said that a novel is an extended prose narrative with something wrong with it and there ought to be a parallel definition of film. Where Alex Proyas leaves us with mysteries, they are deliberate choices. It is a film which dramatizes the shattering of reality by making the man who comes to see clearly into something approximating a god, who kills the oppressing Strangers, brings light to the night city and creates a sea for the comfort of its inhabitants that we can see as arestoration of fertility. Like many of the best SF movies, it uses SF concepts but is also knee-deep in mythological resonance.

As of course is the other obvious good handling of these themes, the even more spectacular and considerably less thoughtful The Matrix and its sequels and associated material. The Matrix covers much of the same ground as Dark City with far less intellectual depth and even more style. ......


One of the reasons why The Matrix Reloaded (2003) is so much less effective than the original film is just this: that, after seeing the first film, we have a new vocabulary of wonder. All that the fight scenes, or cityscapes, or shots of giant robot squids carving their way through hulls in the second film
p. 74
manage to do is bigger and louder and more -- the Wachowskis failed on this second occasion to do new. Or better. The sequences in the third film, Matrix Revolutions (2003), which work best are the quieter ones. The scene where Neo is trapped in a virtual subway station unable to leave its white-tiled sterility is one of the few moments which gives us the same shock of the new as the first film.

The Matrix derived as much from comic books and commercials as from the watered-down version of Gnosticism that it espoused -- it has been argued that most of its principals are there for their clothes-horse quality as for their acting ability, and if that is intended as a criticism it is more or less beside the point. The point about the movie is that its heroes and heroine look good even in the skivvies and slime of the 'real world' and in the designer suits and black leather trench-coats of the consensual reality that turns out to be the fine fakery of the Matrix.
以下討論 The Matrix Trilogy,不再詳列。

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...